After World War II, US intelligence agencies needed a place to test overhead surveillance planes that could fly low enough to spy on Russia without being shot down. They purchased land at Groom Dry Lake, and Area 51 was born.
The base is protected by little more than a chain-link fence, boom gate, and intimidating trespassing signs. Yet it’s become the center of numerous government conspiracy theories involving alien technology and UFOs.
What is Area 51?
Area 51 is a military base that sits in the middle of the Nevada desert and has become the center of all sorts of conspiracy theories about aliens. For decades, people have wondered what goes on inside the walls of the secretive base, with theories ranging from communicating with aliens for some sinister reason to storing and examining their technology.
There is little evidence of what goes on at the mysterious site, which is surrounded by a chain link fence and intimidating trespassing signs. Air traffic control audio out of Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport suggests that government-owned passenger jets owned by Janet Airlines fly daily to and from the mysterious location in the desert, which is also known as Homey Airport (KXTA) or Groom Lake. The base has been called several names over the years, including Dreamland, Watertown, and Paradise Ranch, but it is best known as the home of the top-secret U-2 spy plane and later the development of the A-12 Blackbird.
As the need for aerial reconnaissance became increasingly urgent after World War II, CIA officials picked Groom Lake in 1955 as the perfect place to develop and test their new U-2 aircraft. As secret testing of the planes and other aircraft went on, locals began to report strange lights in the sky. Whether the sightings were real or not, they helped fuel the conspiracy theories about aliens that surround Area 51 to this day.
Popular Mechanics once did an in-depth piece on the history of Area 51, and it uncovered some intriguing facts. The agency was able to secure the land from the Bureau of Land Management thanks in part to the fact that it was so remote and difficult to get to.
The article also notes that the military is not the only one keeping secrets about the facility. The CIA, FBI, and Department of Defense have all worked together at the site over the years, and some of their work is still classified. The CIA’s research on overhead espionage platforms continues at the base today, and it has even collaborated with foreign governments on its highly sensitive projects.
History of Area 51
เอเรีย 51 has become a household name thanks to being featured in the 1995 alien invasion film Independence Day and other movies that feature mysterious aliens. It’s also a popular topic of conspiracy theories about secret extraterrestrial research by the government. However, the base is not as exotic as some of the rumors would lead you to believe.
The real secrets of Area 51 lie in the development and testing of top-secret military aircraft, including the A-12 and F-117 stealth jets. The facility has also been home to foreign planes, acquired sometimes through defectors and other times through special deals with other nations’ militaries.
In 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower feared that America was falling behind the Soviet Union in terms of military technology. He asked a panel of experts to figure out how the country could use science to thwart the Soviet threat. The team recommended that the CIA find a remote site for aerial testing of a new high-altitude spy plane. A scouting team flew over Groom Lake and found it to be the perfect location for this new secret project. The government agreed and the location became known as Area 51.
After the U-2 tests began, locals started reporting sightings of unidentified flying objects. Many of these reports matched up with dates and times that the CIA had scheduled test flights for its new U-2 plane, which was able to fly higher than any other spy plane in existence at the time. The CIA continued to make use of the Area 51 facility for years, even after U-2 operations ended.
In the 1970s, Skylab astronauts accidentally photographed Area 51 from space on their way to and from Earth. The photographs were reviewed by the National Photographic Interpretation Center and then removed from the rolls of film. However, the images remained on some of the astronauts’ cameras, allowing conspiracy theorists to create a legend that aliens and flying saucers were a regular occurrence at the top-secret base.
It’s impossible to get inside the actual base, but curious civilians can drive to the front and back gates. To do so, you’ll want to have a desert survival kit with plenty of water and food, as well as a map or GPS and some good weather gear. It’s also helpful to have an account with a service that can let you use cellular data, since cell coverage is sparse in the Nevada desert.
UFO Sightings at Area 51
In the 1950s, as Area 51 was developing into the world’s most advanced military base, reports of unidentified flying objects began trickling in to air traffic control and the Air Force. These aircraft were prototypes built using never-before-seen technology and operating at speeds and maneuvering that far exceeded anything in man’s capabilities at the time. As a result, it’s no surprise that many people mistook these unusual aircraft for being from another planet or another time.
While it may be obvious to modern day skeptics that these top-secret aircraft were simply testing prototypes for today’s military, those who lived near and worked at Groom Lake in the ’50s weren’t as sure. That’s part of the reason why Kelly Johnson gave the base a more enticing name than its map designation, which was shortened to Paradise Ranch. Regardless, this middle of nowhere facility has long been a source for conspiracy theories about aliens and UFOs.
The secrecy of Area 51 is a big factor in how this mystery has become ingrained into the American culture. The fact that it’s off-limits to the public, and even Air Force personnel, breeds speculation and allows wild conspiracy theories to run amok. From alien conspiracies to claims that the 1947 Roswell crash was actually a secret landing by Soviet spacecraft piloted by mutated midgets, it’s no wonder that Area 51 has such a powerful hold on the pop culture imagination.
A trip to Area 51 is a bit like entering a black hole, as there is little or no light shining from the other side. To get there, you must travel down a dusty, unmarked road that ends at a boom gate surrounded by a chain link fence and intimidating trespassing signs. In addition, the entire area is patrolled by a roving contingent of law enforcement officers, including sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, game wardens and park rangers. This team ensures that no one is sneaking onto the base to peep in on the action or to take pictures of the mysterious terrain. The local residents of Rachel, a town that lies just outside of the boundary of the base, hope this team keeps the peace and doesn’t disrupt anyone’s daily lives.
How to Get a Job at Area 51
While many people imagine crashed flying saucers and scientists testing alien technology in underground bunkers, Area 51 is a real military facility used to test cutting-edge aircraft. The top-secret Nevada desert site is part of the Nellis Air Force Base complex and surrounded by restricted land and air space. What goes on inside the site is kept secret by a high-security fence and armed guards. The US government strictly controls access to the area and only a small number of people are allowed to work there.
The only way to get a job at Area 51 is to be recruited by the CIA, which usually hires engineers and military personnel with clean records who have experience working on high-stakes projects. The CIA has a lot of vetting procedures and you can be sure that any person who works at the site will have a background check done. It’s also important to know that anyone who works at Area 51 is not supposed to talk about what they do there, even with their closest friends and family.
In recent years, the mystery surrounding Area 51 has intensified. It’s been featured in a number of popular movies and TV shows, including two episodes of Marvel’s Agents of Shield and three mentions by Spider-Man antagonist Jonah Jameson’s publication The Daily Bugle in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s no wonder that the site is such a fascination, with many people believing that alien life forms are being studied there.
While there’s no official list of qualifications for someone who wants to work at the mysterious military base, it’s a good idea to start by looking into jobs that require security clearances and working with classified information. Other suitable options include the CIA, the United States Air Force, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It’s also helpful to have experience in your chosen field of work and to have a solid network of professional contacts. Those who have a passion for the topic of Area 51 will find it much easier to get a job at the site than those who just want to see it for themselves.